Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dawn of A New Era?

Taken from the net, with apology from copyright owner
Or will they flatter to deceive us again (as team after team before them had done)?

I hope not, but in the aftermath of the euphoria in a nation that has not won anything of substance in soccer for the last 30 years, I thought I would like to be a bit conservative in the celebration. While I do not wish to pour cold water to the achievement of the young players, I would like to put things in perspective.

We lost two games to Indonesia, and yet we are champions. Technically we are, but morally we can't claim that we are the best in South East Asia. In a one-off game, or in this case a two-off game, anything is possible, and hence we are champions.

But let us put things in the right context. Let me say it again, this is a South East Asian tournament, and from the perspective of world soccer, we are just a droplet in the SEA of world football - the pun was unintentional.

Yes, we defended well, the boys were disciplined enough, and there were flashes of flair, but it was Indonesia all the way from start to finish. I would consider it 70-30 for the Indonesians in term of possessions, would I be wrong with my estimates?

I have to admit that I did not watch fully both games from start to finish. Heck, for someone who has supported Man United all my life, I have not watched the MU games properly since 2007. Football match especially those of United are not good for my health. They like to test the hearts of their fans. So in this respect, I am an armchair's critic.

Another thing of note, we did not win the game in Hanoi either, and Vietnam totally dominated the proceeding in their home country, as did Indonesia in Jakarta.

So we were not 3-nil better than the Indonesians, and definitely we were not 2-nil better than Vietnam too. In other words, these two teams - we should include Thailand too, are not teams we can maul every time we meet.

For sure it was not a walk in the park for Harimau Malaya for both games, except during the twelve minutes when three goals were scored on Sunday.

Well, in the context of the AFF Championship, yes, we are the champions. I can't take that away from them, so congratulations to the team. I like their fighting spirits and their mental toughness. We seldom see that in Malaysian sports.

But Borussia Dortmund and Porto were not supposed to be champions either in the previous years of the Champions League. Or Greece in 2004 European Championship. And yet, they were champions (in their own right). As I have said, anything is possible in a one-off game. Or in a single tournament.

Were they able to dominate in the subsequent years? I think you know the answer to this question.

Mind you, We did not win the away games, and we won our games in Kuala Lumpur - in fact we won the tournament in Kuala Lumpur, so you can say that we are the jaguh kampung. 

Sort of.

Don't get me wrong; I personally would like to enjoy the local game like it was in the 70s again. It was a pleasure to watch them then. But this team has not reached the height of the predecessors of the 70s. They are nowhere there yet, although they are heading towards the right direction. So let's be conservative with our praise.

I wish the boys well. They seems to have a future in them. Bask in the glory this week, and please don't bask in it for too long. Let them come back to Earth next Monday, and no later than that.

No one-acre of land, one Proton Persona and RM100K to the payers, coaches and officials please. No datukship either for Rajagopal yet. No to countless of dinner appointments, nationwide tours and excessive accolades. Let us not feast them in every state capital and every district in the country. We have not won the World Cup yet; please remember that the champions are Spain.

And FAM officials - please leave the players alone in basking the glory this week. You have been paid to do your jobs, and for someone with suits and ties in a stadium, I know you didn't do much except warming up your chairs in the cold air-conditioned office of Wisma FAM.

And my parting remark to them? Safee, please leave the country and try and gain more experience overseas. Fahmi, and Norsharul too.

It would do you and the country wonders.

There is nothing much in the country in term of competition for you to excel. To be the best, you must play with and against the best. Go and spread out to the leagues of the world, if you are up to the mark. While you may not get to join the big teams in the big leagues, bide your time in the smaller leagues and improve your standing in the eyes of your coaches.

You will be noticed by the scouts if you did well there.


Hahaha, this is me. I know I am going to receive a lot of brickbats but someone gotta do the dirty job. And that person is me.

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